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Title: Recognising information privacy : a comparative case study of legal change in late modern societies
Author: Schneider, Alice
ISNI:       0000 0004 9355 2065
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2020
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The development of privacy laws is often taken to represent a response to socio-technical changes of modern life. But why, if modern societies were confronted with innovations in information and communication technologies in roughly the same way at the same time, did legal systems develop such different approaches to information privacy? Inspired by the diversity of the legal encoding of privacy, this thesis pursues two main objectives. The first is to develop a nuanced, empirically informed understanding of why information privacy acquired its respective legal status in the legal systems of Germany and the UK. Secondly, by drawing on privacy law developments in two legal systems during the latter half of the twentieth century as a case study, this thesis aims to contribute to a more general understanding of the phenomenon of legal change in late modern societies. These objectives are achieved by a combination of theoretical reflections and qualitative empirical inquiries. The theoretical component of this thesis considers the problems we incur in pinpointing specific instances of legal change. A conceptualisation of legal change as acts of legal recognition provides the framework for the empirical component of this study. In particular, this research project develops an understanding of legal change as a meaningful type of social action that takes into account the significance that social agents attribute to their own actions. Empirical investigations thus focus on the reasons for recognising privacy that lawmakers express in official lawmaking discourses. This thesis finds that considerations such as institutional norms and expectations about lawmaking (legal antecedents), dystopian themes in popular culture, and foreign and international legal developments have all prompted lawmakers to afford legal recognition to information privacy in Germany and the UK. These findings illustrate the role of reflexivity, metaphor and globalising pressures in late modern lawmaking.
Supervisor: Lange, Bettina Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Socio-legal studies ; Legal theory